Reports Show Rise in Book Publication and Sales, but Forecast Is Cloudy

by Staff

Book sales rose slightly in 2007 over the previous year, but the upward trend seen over the past few years may not continue, the New York Times reported today. According to the report Book Industry Trends 2008, released by the trade organization Book Industry Study Group, publishers sold 3.13 billion books last year, a modest 0.9 percent increase over the 3.1 billion sold in 2006. The report also showed a 4.4 percent rise in publishers' net revenues—37.3 billion dollars up from 35.7 billion in 2006—due in part to the rising retail cost of books.

The organization's projections for the next few years, however, show book sales diminishing by 0.7 percent in 2008, followed by growth of zero to less than one percent each year until 2012. Sales of adult trade books, including fiction and nonfiction, which were up 1.8 percent in 2007 with 839 million copies sold, are projected to grow at a rate of 0.5 percent or less in the next five years.

Publication of new titles also increased marginally in 2007, according to statistics released on Wednesday by Bowker, the agency that assigns ISBN numbers and publishes the Books In Print database. The preliminary report, reflecting figures from over seventy-two thousand publishers, shows 276,649 new titles and editions published in 2007, up from 274,416 in the previous year.

The number of titles published in fiction and literature both made significant jumps. In fiction, 50,071 new titles were published, a 17 percent increase over 2006, and nearly double the number reported in 2002. Literature titles rose 19 percent, with 9,796 new books. "Adult fiction continues to be a reliable category in the U.S. book publishing industry and one of the niches that a number of publishers have counted on through the peaks and valleys of the past several years," said Kelly Gallagher, Bowker's general manager of business intelligence.

The reports arrive just in time for this year's BookExpo America, the publishing industry's annual convention, which kicked off yesterday at the Los Angeles Convention Center.